There is a series of statements that we take to be clearly true, even though we cannot explain why. This is known as common sense, and it is something we all have and are supposed to share with any reasonable person. However, even in those capsules of common sense that are sayings, they are also stated to be the least common of the senses. today is Monday, magazine With people He publishes a study that attempts to measure common sense, both for individuals and for society as a whole. In the work, which took a sample of 2,000 people who evaluated 4,400 statements, it was noted that there is no common sense common to the entire society.
“Our findings suggest that there is a reasonable amount of common sense between two people, but as a society there is little common sense shared by all,” he explains. Mark Whiting, a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of the study. However, Whiting points out that people tend to see points of agreement with the people they deal with without realizing that, broadly speaking, there are few things that everyone agrees on.
Questions included in the questionnaire to try to understand what is considered reasonable and to what extent it is shared, included knowledge such as “Triangles have three sides”, things that can be learned through experience, such as “A battery cannot provide energy forever” or moral statements such as “All humans are created “Equal.” The results show that statements about physical reality or about the world as it is, such as that the sun will rise tomorrow, are shared more frequently than those that refer to ideas about how things should be, such as that everyone should have the same opportunities. Access to education. One type of statement that participants considered less logical was proverbs.
Javier Vilanova, professor of philosophy at the Complutense University of Madrid and author of the book Common sense philosophy“, states that “common sense is not best seen in the description one gives of a situation, but in how one acts.” For this reason he believes that the experience of observing how people act, beyond the ideas they have about some data, can help “Where common sense is truly seen, and where it is developed, is in everyday life,” says Vilanova, who gives as an example the value of money as something that exists because there is a shared belief about that value.
One aspect that caught the attention of the study authors was that demographic variables such as gender, income level, or political preferences were not related to what was perceived as common sense. However, that was with two tests, one that measures a person's ability to think beyond what their instinct tells them (the Cognitive Reflection Test) and the other that measures the ability to read others emotionally (the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test). Vilanova believes that the lack of differences by social class or gender demonstrates how “common sense is a unifying factor that allows people in a heterogeneous group to share something transversal.”
In the study published today With peopleThe authors attempt to overcome the ambiguity that accompanies common sense, a sentiment that is often used as an argument for authority, but is never easy to define. To do this, participants must identify what is meaningful to them, but also what they believe is shared by others, which goes beyond the usual perception of common sense. Usually, when you think something is common sense and someone else disagrees with it, you simply believe that person who does not share your view of common sense is wrong.
The study's authors hope that the tool they have created can be used to study common sense in different contexts and see, for example, how it has changed over time or differences between cultures. In the future, they plan to study whether statements in the political sphere tend to be phrased worse in terms of common sense than in everyday situations or whether using them as part of political discourse degrades the term in the eyes of the public.
In human history, what is considered common sense has changed, thanks in part to the work of science, which often appears to be an effort to find out the reality hidden beneath deeply rooted perceptions. Until not long ago, the idea that the Earth was flat or remained stationary seemed more intuitive than the fact revealed by rational observation, which is that it is a ball moving at more than 100,000 kilometers per hour around the Sun. However, common sense as a starting point is necessary to make social relations and even communication between scholars possible. Beyond this starting point, and despite what the name suggests, the totality of each individual's common sense, the authors write, can be theirs alone.
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